It’s no secret that the States-owned airline was suffering financially prior to our second wave of the pandemic and resulting lockdown; the situation is even more uncertain now, as the return of anything like regular travel remains on the distant horizon.
Aurigny cost the taxpayer £10m in 2019, £2m more than originally forecast. In 2020, the financial impact of the pandemic and lockdown saw Aurigny suffer an estimated loss of £24m, as flights were grounded and a majority of staff furloughed.
Pictured: The airline industry was one of the biggest hit following the outbreak of Covid-19, as travel has been heavily restricted.
Aurigny’s most recent Budget forecast a loss in 2021 of £14m, with airlines across the world facing severe crosswinds and strict self-isolation requirements for travellers locally. However, even this figure was under the assumption that travel restrictions would relax to some extent and people would start moving around again.
This picture has been thrown into further uncertainty by our second wave of the pandemic, with lockdown entering its fourth week.
“That figure could well be reviewed,” said President of Policy and Resources, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, of the 2021 financial forecasts. "And sadly reviewed the wrong way.”
Connectivity is essential for the Bailiwick and the States of Guernsey has worked to facilitate a temporary overdraft allowance to Aurigny of £52m to support the airline through a turbulent time. More than half of its staff remain on furlough, just in case it can start operating again.
The cost of all this inevitably falls to the taxpayer.
“Aurigny are under the auspices of the States Trading Supervisory Board, but ultimately it’s the Treasury that picks up the bill,” said Deputy Ferbrache.
Pictured: Deputy Ferbrache said the airline will be “expected to react to the situation as it is and ensure it reviews their operational abilities.”
The States of Guernsey is responsible for protecting our air and see links and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“Ultimately, the States is there to ensure that Aurigny continues and the States will look at its finances carefully."
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